Ethics and rationale of living-donor liver transplantation in Asia

Vanessa H. De Villa, Chung Mau Lo, Chao Long Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

103 Scopus citations


Living-donor liver transplantation took root in Asia as a natural result of circumstances, because the supply of organs from the cadaveric pool remained scarce over the years. In contrast to Western countries, the majority of organs for liver transplantation in Asia come from live donations. As the expertise of the transplant teams grows, patient outcomes improve, and public awareness increases, the option of live donation of the liver is increasingly chosen. Although no live liver donor death has yet been reported from Asia, the risk is not eliminated and remains a major consideration in the potential donor's decision to donate. The low morbidity and mortality rate could be attributed to the extensive experience of surgeons in liver surgery, because surgical liver disease is highly prevalent in Asia. Although the donor risk is estimated to be low, live organ donation should be absolutely voluntary, with consent given on the basis of unbiased information and chosen only when the option for obtaining a cadaveric graft is practically nil. It is only under these conditions that living-donor liver transplantation should be perpetuated. Although the disease-donation-transplantation process involves a complex interplay of psychosocial and family dynamics, the potential candidate's perception will necessarily depend on the surgeon's explanation. The ethical soundness of the practice of living-donor liver transplantation rests primarily on the ones who deliver the service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S2-S5
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 15 02 2003
Externally publishedYes


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